WASHINGTON – The US will require all passengers traveling to the country on international flights to test negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) starting January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday.
"Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants," the CDC said in a statement. "With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public."
"Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight to the US departs and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from Covid-19," it added.
The agency said airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers and if a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
"Testing does not eliminate all risk," CDC Director Robert Redfield said. "But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."
As of late Tuesday, the US had more than 22.7 million coronavirus cases and nearly 380,000 deaths, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. (Anadolu)